PTSD

Making the rank; Does your rank help your VA claim?

When I was studying criminal justice in undergrad, or as it is more popularly known, wasting four years of my life, we learned about ranks within police departments. I really wish I would have paid more attention during that lesson because it likely would have helped me when doing intakes with Veterans. The reason is that I have to know what rank a Veteran was at when he or she was discharged from the military. One might think that it is a simple as asking them and then jotting down their reply, but like going to the DMV, things get complicated fast. Most of my research came from the...

Modern Veterans' Organizations offer Alternative to alcohol-based socialization.

Full disclosure, I am not much into drinking. It’s never really been a hobby of mine. I remember celebrating pretty heavily when I turned 21, then revisiting some nachos I had consumed earlier that evening, and not too much after that. I am now nine years removed from that day and I can’t really recall any other time in which I was intoxicated. Honestly I saw a lot of cautionary tales growing up that have really stuck with me. Also, I simply can’t stand the taste of most forms of alcohol. Before we get too far along, I want to make it clear that this is not the judgment express. I am flawed....

Recent Report Sheds Light on VA Mistakes

When I am asked by a Veteran if the department of Veterans Affairs makes mistakes, I automatically feel as if I am in “The Hunger Games,“ and I think to myself “VA today, VA tomorrow, VA forever!” However, like in "The Hunger Games," I should not be afraid to criticize the VA. Besides, they have a lot more to worry about right now than a snarky blogger. I then realize that they are a government agency, and they are subject to occasional audits. Recently a report surfaced from one of those audits showing how severe those mistakes actually are now. As you may already know, every state has at...

Tips for Combat Veterans regarding Fireworks on Independence Day

With Independence Day coming up I am reminded of how much I don’t like fireworks. I can recall two situations that led me to dread public firework displays. When I was sixteen I was a part of a youth program to prepare kids for the workforce. One of my jobs involved cleaning the local city park. It happens to be where they set off the fireworks for our annual celebration. One cold and wet July morning 15 years ago led to 8 hours of picking up cardboard casings on my hands and knees. The 2nd incident happened more recently. I was driving home from Athens during the evening on Independence Day....

Don't fall into the treatment gap

I know I can often sound like a corrupt MP3 file-that’s a broken record for my older readers-but I can’t stress how important medical evidence is for any Veterans Disability claim. While a lack of treatment as a whole is bad for your case, a gap in treatment can be just as bad. Granted, this isn’t as much of an issue for Veterans who are returning home from recent conflicts. We see this problem mostly in Veterans who served in Vietnam, the 80’s or even the early 90’s during Desert Storm. A classic scenario I hear all of the time from Veterans is that they were hurt while serving, chose not to...

Be careful of where you obtain your VA Disability information

Last night I was watching one of my favorite TV Dramas, Nashville, and something made me think. This usually happens because of their blatant product placement from companies like Chevrolet, or Subway, but this time it was actually because of the plot of the show. In this episode all of the singers get together to perform at Ft. Campbell in Tennessee.  They were performing for a group soldiers who were deploying to Afghanistan. This actually made me think of a conversation I had with a Veteran that day. In the show, some of the soldiers were going to serve overseas while others weren't. After...

How effective communication can help you win your VA Disability Claim

Toyotas are boring cars. This is so much of an issue for the auto manufacture that they are trying desperately to make you believe driving a Toyota Camry can be fun. (Evidence is provided in the form of a commercial posted below.) It’s not. It’s simply not a fun car to drive. Toyota should settle down though. People don’t buy Carmys because they are fun; they buy them because they are reliable. You can buy a Camry, put gas in it, and never really have to worry about the car until you sell it a few years later. Some individuals believe that if they hire a VA Disability Attorney they can simply...

Recent Poll Profiles Soldiers Returning Home From Conflict

I’ll be honest; I really don’t like the Family Feud. This may be an unpopular opinion, but it is mine, and I have the right to have it. My displeasure with the show is not with the host, the families on it, or the format; it’s with the survey they use for the answers. They only Survey 100 people for these questions! Are you really trying to tell me that 100 people can really represent the entire country when it comes to something as important as naming something you bring on a picnic? This is really the problem with surveys and polls as a whole, at least in my opinion. As a country, we are...

Military Sexual Trauma Information for Veterans

Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, is in the news a lot right now. In fact, the second season of the hit show "House of Cards" dealt with a subplot involving this subject. It's obviously a big issue for the military right now. While it is a big topic in the mainstream media, a lot of Veterans don't know where to turn for help. A look at the VA website actually has some helpful information on the topic. For instance, did you know that a Veteran does not have to be service connected to receive treatment at a VA facility for MST? In fact, there is no need to present evidence in order to...

(Almost) Everything You need to know about VA Effective Dates

Will I get back pay from the time I was injured in the military? This question is one I encounter with a lot of Veterans, and it is something that is met with a lot of confusion. There are actually a ton of misconceptions about this topic, and I wanted to take time to clear something up. In a perfect world it would make sense that if you have a back injury while in service, the VA would back pay you until then. However, we can tell by the fact that Wendy Williams gets to be on TV, that this world is not perfect. How does the VA determine this? Back pay has to do with your effective date, and...

What a "VCAA" means for your VA Disability Claim

Going to the mailbox is somewhat of a Roller Coaster ride for me. Sometimes it’s an awesome trip and I comeback with a Netflix movie I’ve been waiting for, or a Motor Trend Magazine with a practical midsize sedan on the cover. This only happens a few times a month, but more often I open the little mail box door to find bills, letters from the college I attended asking for alumni donations, and even statements from doctors saying that I owe them money. I hate those days. I have to imagine that Veterans filing for Disability have the same outlook on the mailbox. Almost every correspondence from...

Simple questions to consider when you are curious about PTSD

We are excited to welcome special guest blogger Julia McLaughlin, M.A. to our blog. Enjoy her first post: Curious if you have PTSD? Here are some quick questions to consider! Sometimes it is difficult to tease out the facts.  Information is abundant, but not all of it is correct.  When it comes to practically understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is important to know facts from fiction. This is your life.  You have to figure out whether the incidents in your past are truly impacting your present, and impeding your future.  You are responsible to determine whether or not you are...

Coast Guard Veterans and VA Disability Compensation

I have friends who have served in the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, as well as the National Guard, but I have no acquaintances who have served in the Coast Guard. It is perhaps due to the fact that I am hundreds of miles from any ocean, or maybe it’s my personality. This really bums me out because I find the Coast Guard to be fascinating. In honor of the Coast Guard’s birthday, and it also being my own birthday today, I’ve decided to write about the Coast Guard. (Note: As I am sure someone will point out, the Coast Guard actually dates back to August of 1790. However, January 28th is the...

Dogs may help Veterans with PTSD

Treatment for PTSD can come in many forms. I often speak to Veterans who are involved in group counseling, outpatient treatment, and many other traditional types of treatment. While working (ok, playing) on Facebook yesterday, I noticed a post by the Fayetteville VAMC that reminded me of a non-traditional method I had forgotten about…pet therapy. Granted, I am one of the 5 people in the world who doesn’t like animals, but I believe in this type of rehabilitation. I decided to do a little research on this topic, and was surprised to find information on the VA website. According to the VA, Some...

OEF/OIF Veterans among the highest unemployed

The main reason I write for this blog, and have worked so hard on it for the past two years, is that I want to get quality information to Veterans. I hate to sound like a corrupt mp3 file (broken record for our older readers,) but there is a ton of misinformation circulating about VA Disability benefits. I find that there are a lot of programs out there that Veterans aren’t aware of, and we are going to talk about one of the big ones today, Individual Unemployability. It is often referred to as IU, and Google will think that you misspelled “employability,” if you search for it. While there are...